Seniors lead No. 9 Volleyball past Texas Tech on Senior Day
|Senior Tiana Dockery enjoys the Senior Day ceremonies.|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – All three seniors started and contributed major roles in 9th-ranked Kansas volleyball’s three-set sweep over Texas Tech (25-19, 25-9, 25-23) on Senior Day, Saturday afternoon at Horejsi Family Athletics Center.
Led by 15 kills from fourth-year senior Tiana Dockery, Kansas (26-2, 14-2 Big 12) concludes its most successful regular-season in program history which included the highest national ranking in program history (No. 7) and the longest winning streak in program history (W19).
Senior newcomers Ashlyn Driskill and Anna Church started for the second and first time this season, respectively. Driskill finished with five kills and two aces, while Church finished with nine digs and five assists.
Kansas head coach Ray Bechard boasted about his seniors after the match, “I’m really proud of Dockery – 15 kills. Driskill played very well. Anna played very well. For those seniors to perform at a high level in the last regular-season match was great to see. This has been our most successful four-year period in program history any they all played-up to that level.”
The Jayhawks are now 99-26 in the last four years, improving upon the best four-year winning percentage in program history (.792).
But KU’s bright future was also on display in the form of 15 kills and no attacking errors from sophomore right-side hitter Kelsie Payne and 23 digs from junior libero Cassie Wait.
Driskill was the first to put the Jayhawks on the scoreboard in the first set, registering two consecutive kills to give KU a 2-1 advantage. Texas Tech kept pace with KU in the first set, holding just a one-point deficit, 18-17, in the late stages. Kansas ended the set on a 7-2 run, capped off by a service ace from Church on set-point. KU recorded 20 kills on a .378 hitting percentage to reach 20 kills in a set for the eighth time this season.
Kansas started the second set with a 4-1 deficit, but finished with one of the most dominating runs of the season. The Jayhawks closed the set on a 24-5 run, which included runs of 14-1 and 9-0. It is the sixth time this season Kansas has held its opponent to under 10 points in a single set. Kansas recorded 18 kills on a .395 hitting percentage with five blocks in the second set.
“We played as well as we have all year in middle of the second set,” Bechard said. “To go on runs like that in volleyball in pretty tough to do.”
Both teams played a clean third set – Kansas recording 17 kills on a .317 hitting percentage, and Texas Tech recording 16 kills on a .316 clip. KU made its way to a 19-14 lead before the Lady Raiders rallied to a one-point deficit, 20-19. Payne put the Jayhawks on her shoulders for three kills during KU’s final five points. Sophomore outside hitter Madison Rigdon registered her sixth kill of the day on match-point, clinching a 25-23 third-set win and the Jayhawks 18th three-set sweep of the season.
Kansas will learn its seeding in the NCAA Volleyball Championship field of 64 on Sunday (8 p.m., ESPNU). It will be a program-record fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship for the Jayhawks.
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